Archive for the ‘Divorce or Dissolution’ category

Summer Vacation and Divorce: Get away from it all with good communication!

April 4th, 2014

Summer Vacation

When going through divorce, a summer vacation with your kids can be a needed retreat: just cover your bases with good communication.

This is the time of year when hopefully the sun is around more, the flowers begin to appear, and kids start to look forward to the coming end of the school year.  Summer vacation can be a great time to spend with your children, making memories and catching up on the things that can get lost in the busy everyday lives of most families, and help reassure children of parents love and commitment to them during a divorce.  If you are dealing with a divorce, dissolution, or custody issue, summer vacation can also become a very stressful and combative time.

Family law issues can bring challenges in scheduling and communication between parents in planning for the summer break and vacations.  Most separation agreements set out which parent has time with the children during the summer, which simplifies this time of year for those families.  If you have not yet concluded your divorce, it can be more complicated.  Proper communication with the other parent is essential.  If you are planning a trip out of the state, it is imperative the other parent be notified immediately.  When a parent leaves a state with a child, without notifying the other, there may be a misunderstanding where the other believes the child has been kidnapped.  A scenario ending with a nationwide search, and your arrest by U.S. Marshalls or other federal agency – probably not the ideal conclusion to a vacation with your kids.

Newly separated couples have great difficulty in communicating effectively, but it is a skill which you must nurture and develop.  When you have a child with someone, you are then connected to (or stuck with) that person until the child reaches the age of 18.  So start now, learn how to discuss family vacations and scheduling.  Communication with your ex is essential to successful co-parenting.

When kids are involved, summer vacation requires additional planning and details, which if you are dealing with a difficult ex can required professional assistance.  If you are in need of a family lawyer, contact Ohio Divorce Attorney, Jamie L. Anderson, today to schedule a free in-office or telephone consultation at (937)879-9542.

St. Patrick’s Day and Divorce

March 15th, 2014

Don’t Rely on the Luck of the Irish to Protect Your Case on St. Patrick’s Dayst patrick s day

St. Patrick’s Day is a great holiday to celebrate with friends and family, and the only time of year to drink as much green beer as anyone could want.  When you are recently separated, divorced, or involved in another legal issue such as child custody or support, St. Patrick’s Day also brings the opportunity to harm your legal interests.  Too much green beer can lead to poor decision making, which can lead to a bad outcome in your case.

If you are fighting for more visitation time with your children, or child support, be prepared to explain yourself in court.  If St. Patrick’s Day falls on your day of parenting time, be prepared to explain to the court why going out to drink with your friends is more important than spending that time with your children.  Whatever your reason, the court will not agree with you.    If you are asking for a reduction in your child support because of an undue hardship, be prepared to explain to the court why you do not have enough money to maintain your child support, but you have money to go out drinking.

If you are fighting for custody, be prepared to explain any photos taken of you and posted on social media.  Remember “a picture is worth a thousand words”; no matter how innocent or normal you may believe your behavior is, such as chugging beers, that picture in court will make you look careless or like a drunk.

If you do go out for the St. Patrick’s Day fun, do not break the law. If you get in a fight, or arrested for possession of an illegal substance, it may all be brought against you in your legal case. In a custody or visitation case, the court always looks at the best interest of the child.  The court views the best interest of the child as a safe, loving, and stable environment.  Think about how your actions will affect your children and the outcome of your case.

If you are arrested for driving under the influence, the court may restrict your ability to transport your children.  A DUI charge may also affect your ability to drive to and from work, affecting your ability to pay child support and legal fees.  If you arrested for DUI, contact an experienced DUI attorney, Charlie Rowland.  Check out his website throughout the weekend for DUI checkpoints at daytondui.com.

Don’t rely on the luck of the Irish during St. Patty’s Day during a family law case, but use common sense, and always think of how your actions could affect your case before dancing that jig.

To discuss your divorce, dissolution, child custody, support, or visitation issue, contact Attorney Jamie Anderson, at (937)879-9542, for a free in-office or telephone consultation.

 

Social Media: 3 Pictures to Never Post on Facebook – Sex

December 5th, 2013

social mediaA Goldmine to Your Ex’s Attorney: Sexual Pictures on Social Media

In the previous i discussed post pictures of children and the effects posting certain types of pictures and videos on social media could have on a family law case.  In this article the focus is on “sexy selfies” or photos of yourself which may be viewed unfavorably by the court.

Again the three questions to ask yourself in deciding whether to post a picture of your child also apply in determining whether you should post a picture of yourself.

1. Would you want to hide it from the judge?
2. Would you have to explain anything to the judge so it doesn’t make you look bad?
3. If your ex posted it, would you be able to make him/her look bad with it?

Another way to think about it is this:  If you would not want any of the following to see it, DO NOT POST IT!

  • parents
  • grandparents
  • priest or pastor
  • child’s teacher
  • employer

Below is a sample list of photos you should never post of yourself, and should remove if already posted, especially if you are involved in some type of family law dispute.

1.  Sexually Suggestive Poses

During a family law dispute, people who were once very close and comfortable enough to share everything in an instant can become each other’s worst enemy.  Pictures your former spouse or partner may have requested you take, can be turned around on you.  For example, your ex may have encouraged you to post pictures of yourself in sexually suggestive poses, “so everyone can see how sexy you are.”  However, once the couple becomes involved in a custody dispute, the pictures once requested, will become the picture he can’t believe you took and posted on Facebook.  If you have posted pictures like this while in a relationship with someone you are now going through a legal dispute with, or are likely to go through a dispute with, remove the pictures.

2. Naked Pictures – Even if Nothing is Showing

In our society there are various degrees of acceptability when it comes to the human body.  Society’s view of the naked form not only varies from country to country, but from region to region.  Some people may view a photograph of a naked woman or man as art, but another will only view it as pornographic.  As people’s perceptions vary, so do judge’s.  For example, a wife is pregnant and has artistic photos taken of herself where her private areas are concealed, and then posts them on social media to share with family and friends.  Although the wife sees the photos as a beautiful artistic expression of the female form, a judge may not share her same enthusiasm.  Respect your own privacy and keep these types of photos off of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and MySpace.

3. Body Piercings

Pictures of piercings of anything other than on your face should not be on social media.  Pictures of breast, vaginal, or of male piercings should not be shared.  On your phone, the picture may seem flattering and cool, but when the picture is blown up on the projector in the middle of the courtroom in front of your ex, the judge, the court reporter, and bailiff, it will not seem so flattering and cool.  In a family law proceeding your perception of you is not as important as the judge’s perception of you.  Leave the self-expression for those who know you best, and those who meet you in person, keep it off of social media.

4. Tattoos in Areas Normally Covered by Clothing

Pictures of tattoos are generally okay as long as they are not vulgar in nature, and in a place normally visual in public.  For example, a tattoo on your arm or lower leg, of a flower or cross, is fine.  However, a tattoo on your upper thigh, breasts, stomach, side, or lower back are most likely not okay.  Remember, regardless of your personal opinion on tattoos, or even society’s general acceptance of tattoos, it is the judge’s opinion and perception that is the most important.  I am not suggesting you should not have these tattoos, just do not post pictures of them on social media when you are involved in a family law dispute.

5. Pictures or Videos of Dancing – Especially Pole Dancing

Pictures or videos of you and your friends living it up at the club, or dancing in any sexually suggestive manner should not be shared on social media.  Although the dancing may be innocent, or just of you having a good time, an attorney can paint the pictures or video in an unfavorable light, suggesting you are uncontrollable, reckless, or have a drinking problem.  Even certain types of fitness dance, especially pole dancing, can be construed in an unfavorable light.  The majority of people are only familiar with pole dancing as “what strippers do,” even though it has become popular in mainstream society as a new fitness workout.  The shared post of your new routine you have been working on with your instructor may be a moment you are very proud of, but in the eyes of judges it may only be seen as inappropriate.

 

If you are facing a family law issue, please call me, Attorney Jamie Anderson, to set-up your free in-office or telephone consultation at (937)879-9542.  I am also on social media, check out my Facebook page, Ohio Divorce Attorney for daily posts.

 

Social Media: 3 Pictures to Never Post on Facebook – Children

December 3rd, 2013

social media

Kids, Drugs, and Sex on Social Media: A Goldmine to Your Ex’s Attorney

Any family law case has a tendency to create a soap opera like atmosphere, but instead of the dead fiance coming back from the dead with the dirty secret, anyone can easily uncover dirty secrets you post on social media.  One of the most damaging forms of information found on social media are posted pictures and videos of kids, drugs, or sexual images.  Many cases which on their face seem stacked in one party’s favor have been won by a clever attorney who did a simple social media search on the other party.  There are many forms of information which may be found and used, but pictures and video can be the most harmful.

In this installment we will focus on pictures and videos of children.

Pictures and Videos of Children

Posting pictures and videos of your children may be something you give little thought, and most pictures and videos posted of children are harmless.  However, when you are in the midst of a custody battle, visitation dispute, or a divorce or dissolution involving children, pictures can speak more than words, and can be used to paint you in an unfavorable light.

Never post the following types of pictures or videos involving children:

1. Bathing or Naked

Yes, your children are adorable – but stop and think.  Do you want naked pictures of your children posted all over the internet?  Sexual predators and pedophiles search the internet for pictures of young children.  Even if you believe you are only sharing the pictures with your family, Facebook is not the appropriate place to post these pictures.   Once a pedophile finds and saves the image of your child it can then be shared anywhere on the internet.  So, from a safety standpoint, please stop and think.

2. At a Bar

You may think it is cute that the kids are at the bar hanging out with you, or that perhaps the bar you are at is a “family” bar or is “okay for kids.”  However, the judge may not see it that way.  For example, in a divorce a husband could claim the wife has a drinking problem and should not have custody.  Perhaps the wife does not drink, but on her Facebook page are photos of her and her children at a bar with pitchers of beer on the table in front of her.  Depending on the judge, the court may see this as enough evidence that further evaluation is needed.  Even though the wife may have nothing to hide, it needlessly makes the process more drawn out and burdensome, which also means more legal expenses.

3. Riding in a Car without Safety Restraints

If a video is posted of kids in a car with a parent and the kids are not properly restrained, this could be considered evidence of a parent’s inability to provide responsible care.  Even though you drive safely and “you know” that your kids are safe, always consider how your ex may construe the video.  Do not take pictures or videos while you are driving, in any situation it is just poor judgment and unsafe.

4. Holding a beer, cigarette (lit or unlit), or a joint

You may think it is hilarious when your child picks up your cigarette, beer, or joint – the judge will not.  Again, anything you would not want the judge, your ex, your ex’s attorney, your parents, ANYONE to see – DO NOT POST IT!  The judge will not view children as being a joke, or your poor parenting decisions as just a “my bad.”  Your ex’s attorney will most likely persuade the judge that you make consistent poor parenting decisions, and think your children are only there for your amusement.  Do not give the attorney pictures to help him persuade the judge.

5. In clothing with suggestive phrases, or depicting any sort of illegal behavior

If your child is wearing a shirt with curse words, pictures of illegal drugs, street names for illegal drugs, depictions of violence, pictures of weapons, or sexual words or depictions printed on it – DO NOT POST A PICTURE OF IT!  Even though you may believe you are helping your child exercise their freedom of speech, or your freedom of speech, the judge will not view it that way.  Again, any pictures of this nature will be construed as an example of your poor parenting decisions, and inability to parent the child.

6. Singing songs with suggestive or explicit lyrics

Yes, it is awesome your child knows all the words to the new pop or rap song, especially since it is your favorite artist.  However, if the lyrics your child are singing, or lyrics that are present anywhere in the song, are explicit in any way  - DO NOT POST THE VIDEO!  Your little girl singing about her “lovely lady lumps” will not be seen as cute by the judge, but as an example of a parent exposing a child to sexual material.  Even if your child is not saying the inappropriate language in the lyrics recorded in the video, but the language is contained in another part of the lyrics, the judge will assume the child has been exposed and has listened to the entire song.  The extent of the damage of this type of video really depends on the perception of the judge, but why risk it.

7. Saying their first curse words, or using any vulgar language

Again, this type of video, no matter how cute you may think it is, should never be posted.  The judge will not think it is cute.  If your child should not say it at school, do not take a video of them saying it and post on Facebook.

 

When posting on social media, whether it be Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc., if the answer to any of these questions is YES, do NOT post the picture or video.

1. Would you want to hide it from the judge?

2. Would you have to explain anything to the judge so it doesn’t make you look bad?

3. If your ex posted it, would you be able to make him/her look bad with it?

 

If you are facing a possible divorce/dissolution, post-decree, custody, child support, adoption, or any other family law issue, please contact me, Attorney Jamie Anderson, today to schedule your free in-office or telephone consultation at (937)879-9542.

10 Commandments of Divorce Court

September 12th, 2013

Divorce Court, commandments1. Thou shalt not bring your child to divorce court.

The ultimate interest of the divorce court is the best interest of the child.  Unless it is requested by the divorce court, bringing your child to the court with you is not in the best interest of the child.  Children do not need to be aware of the specific details of a divorce.  The private information which parties may divulge in a divorce can cause lasting emotional and psychological damage to a child.  Remember, even though you and your soon to be ex cannot stand each other, your child loves both of their parents.  The love of parents is what can help a child successfully manage the minefields of divorce, and feel safe and secure throughout the process.  Even though you and your spouse no longer want to continue a close relationship, your child needs a close relationship with both parents.  The court does not look fondly on anyone who uses their children as props, weapons, or leverage in a divorce.

2. Thou shalt not bring your girlfriend or boyfriend to divorce court.

Your new boyfriend/girlfriend is not a party to the case, meaning they have no reason to be in the court room or at the court house for any hearing in your case.  He/she will not be allowed in the courtroom unless they are a witness for one of the attorneys.  His/her presence will only antagonizes the other side and complicate the proceeding.  Even if they insist, tell them no.  If they show up anyway, tell them to go home.  Explain it is in your best interest to be divorced as quickly and painlessly as possible and by them staying home or at work they can help you do that.

 3. Thou shalt not dress inappropriately.

Do not under any circumstances come to divorce court in:

  • Flip flops
  • Jeans
  • Tube tops
  • Bathing suits – this includes bikinis, one-pieces, etc. – if you can swim in it, don’t wear it to court!
  • Cover-ups
  • T-shirts (Especially, T-shirts with explicit language or illegal drugs depicted.)
    • NEVER come to divorce court in a PERSONALIZED shirt with drug paraphernalia!

 4. Thou shalt not come to divorce court intoxicated.

Your hearing is very important, and you should plan accordingly.  Do not plan a night of partying the night before.  Do not go out and get drunk.  If your attorney can smell the alcohol on you, it is likely the judge and the other attorney will too.  Even though you may think no one can tell you are high, on illegal drugs or legally prescribed drugs, you are very wrong.  If you want to be successful in your divorce, you need to be sober and able to answer questions and make decisions.  You will suffer the consequences if you come to court intoxicated including losing custody.  After your divorce is over is the time to finally relax, not before.

 5. Thou shalt not request a drug test, when you cannot pass a drug test.

Sometimes a spouse’s drug use is a new issue, but most often drug use is habitual in a marriage.  More often than not both parties have used drugs together, or were consenting to the other party’s use.  Then when they separate they will attempt to use that knowledge as leverage in custody battles, or asset negotiations.  You may think, “I got him now!  I will just threaten to request a drug test,” or tell the judge about her smoking pot, “then I’ll get…”  This is very bad thinking.

First, you are not fooling anyone.  The judge has handled numerous cases, you will not fool him/her.  Second, if you have had your attorney demand your ex be drug tested, they will drug test you too.  If you cannot pass a drug test, do not ask for a drug test.  Third, do not think you can cheat the test.  Courts are more increasingly using hair follicle testing.  There are numerous shampoos and treatments available on the internet claiming they can help you beat the test.  However, the reason the courts use the hair follicle test is because of the extreme difficulty in cheating.  If you use drugs and you take the test, it will show.  Losing custody because you think you are smarter than the court, or because you believe a claim on a bottle of shampoo that only costs you $20, is not a good feeling.  Just think about what it will feel like to see your ex smile at your hearing when they pass and you don’t.  Yuck!

6. Thou shalt not believe you are smarter than the judge or magistrate.

I have said this several times now.  Do not hide assets.  Do not lie in court.  In a divorce, the judge makes the final decision – there is no jury.  If you make the judge mad, or insult his intelligence, the final decision may not be in your favor.

7. Thou shalt not speak without first given permission by your attorney or the judge.

You may have heard this rule as a child, and it is never more important than in court.  If you are testifying, and the attorney asks a question, then respond to the question.  If the judge asks you a question, respond to the question.  Other than that, keep your mouth shut.  The other side may try to trick you into saying something in their favor.  There are numerous issues in a divorce, just because what you say may not be important for one issue, it may be the most important in another issue.  You are paying for your attorney’s knowledge and expertise, use it.  You are paying them to tell you what to do, listen.  Unless they tell you to speak, do not speak.

8. Thou shalt not commit perjury.

Do not lie in court.  If you answer a question untruthfully, or make a false allegation or claim, you can face very serious consequences.  If you lie under oath, the penalty can even include jail time.  Perjury is a criminal offense, and the court can prosecute you.   Perjury is bad, do not do it!

9. Thou shalt not be late to divorce court.

Remember in high school, if you were late to class, then you would get a demerit, or be sent to detention after school.  As an adult, if you are late for court, there are penalties.  The penalty applied is determined by the judge, but can include, the dismissal of your case, or judgment entered in favor of your ex.  Even if you have never been a punctual person, be punctual during your divorce.  Judges have many cases and will not make other cases wait because you had car trouble, sickness, traffic, or just couldn’t wake up on time.  If you are usually 15 minutes late for everything, then plan on being at the court 30 minutes before your hearing.  Being early is appreciated.

10. Thou shalt not use inappropriate language in divorce court.

Do not curse, use racial slurs, or derogatory language in describing your ex.  This is easy to do, especially if you follow the 7th Commandment, “Thou shalt not speak unless given permission by your attorney or the judge.”

 

If you are contemplating divorce or dissolution, or need an attorney’s expertise to help in any other family law matter, contact Attorney Jamie L. Anderson for a free consultation in-office or by phone.  Call (937)879-9542 to schedule your free consultation today!